By Keith Idec
Five weeks after they came to an agreement, the Kell Brook-Errol Spence Jr. fight finally will announced during a press conference Wednesday in Sheffield, England.
England’s Brook will make a mandatory defense of his IBF welterweight title against America’s Spence on May 27 at Bramall Lane, a soccer stadium in Sheffield, Brook’s hometown. The highly anticipated clash initially was to take place May 20, but Bramall Lane, the preferred site for the fight, wasn’t available on that date.
Eddie Hearn, Brook’s promoter, and promoter Tom Brown, who’s representing Spence, reached a monetary agreement February 13. They informed the IBF that day to cancel a purse bid scheduled for February 14, which had been pushed back a week to allow Hearn and Brown more time to come to an agreement before the purse bid.
Before Brook began insisting on facing Spence (21-0, 18 KOs), the powerful southpaw from DeSoto, Texas, thought Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) would give up the IBF welterweight title rather than make a dangerous mandatory defense against him. Brook instead disregarded Hearn’s advice to move up to 154 pounds and demanded that the Spence fight got made.
This will mark the second straight difficult fight for Brook.
He moved up two weight classes for his last fight, a fifth-round technical knockout loss to middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Brook fared well early in their September 10 bout at O2 Arena in London, but suffered a fractured orbital bone around his right eye that eventually made trainer Dominic Ingle throw in the towel.
Brook’s injury required surgery and the IBF granted him a medical extension, which gave him more time to decide whether to fight Spence. Hearn first tried to secure for Brook what would’ve been a more lucrative domestic showdown with polarizing British star Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs).
The 27-year-old Spence will end an even longer layoff when he boxes Brook. He last fought August 21, when he knocked out Italy’s Leonard Bundu (33-2-2, 12 KOs) in the sixth round in Brooklyn, New York.
Showtime will televise Brook-Spence live in the United States. It’ll be broadcast on pay-per-view by Sky Box Office in the United Kingdom.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.